Foiled! 15 tricks to hold off the hackers

To root out persistent hackers, sometimes you have to get a little creative

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Brian’s investigations and the often subsequent takedowns are some of the best true crime investigatory stories you’ll read. Give them a read, learn from the master, and start hunting.

Lure your hacker to a physical location for arrest

It’s never recommended to confront a hacker directly in person, but if you can get law enforcement involved, this can be a sure-fire strategy to solve your problem. Too may times, we know who our hacker is but can’t arrest them. Often it is because our warrants don’t work in the country in which our hacker resides. Security companies and vendors with outstanding warrants will sometimes wait for their targets to take a vacation or connect through a country that supports their warrants, and when the person shows up, they have them arrested.

But one of the best methods to lure a hacker into an arrest is to invite them to interview for a big (fake) job and, in the case of hackers outside your jurisdiction, at a location in a country that supports your warrant. Hackers, perhaps looking to go legit after years of crime, often show up, and you can cajole them into showing their elite skillz. In some instances, hackers’ secret encryption keys and passwords have been captured using this tactic. They get excited thinking they’ve nailed the job interview, and instead they’ve leaked their secrets and get nabbed in the process.

Part of me feels bad for these hackers. They were trying to go legit. Then again, who knows if they would have remained on the good side? Plus, when they get out of prison, if they’ve truly reformed, they can still get an awesome new job on the right side of the defender/hacker divide.

For more inspired computer security defense work, check out my latest book, “Hacking the Hacker,” where I profile 26 computer security defenders and luminaries around the world.

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